Powerful lasers, a thing that only used to be found in sci-fi movies and TV shows and in the arsenal of the military. Who would have known that in the early 21st century that ordinary citizens would be able to buy pocket sized powerful lasers capable of burning things and throwing a visible beam for great distances. Yes, the day has arrived that anyone can buy such lasers from internet vendors and have them delivered to your door.
photo courtesy of ThinkGeek
For almost a year I have been lusting after a Wicked Laser, but could not justify the near $400 price tag. Recently, my favorite online shop for all things geek, ThinkGeek put up for sale a 10mW laser. Upon reading the description of the impressive features and noting that the laser’s price was only $149.99… I immediately placed my order for it. I wasn’t really prepared for when I opened the box to find a BIG metal hefty pipe like object as I didn’t pay attention to the dimensions info on the website.
Yep, this laser is not the size of typical laser pointers. Its 7.5 inches in length and is makes me feel almost like I am holding a light saber. I was very surprised to find that the laser is constructed of solid aluminum and the quality of the parts is impressive for a “affordable” laser. The laser is rated for an output of 10mW with a class III-B rating, the typical laser pointer is rated for 5 mW output with a III-A rating… this is double the power.
next to the ThinkGeek red laser pointer
According to ThinkGeek, the laser is capable of a range of approximately 20,000 ft (6096 m). It has a Constant wave output, I am guessing that normal laser pointers use the pulsed output method. But comparing between the 5mW and 10mW is like comparing a flashlight to something with the light power of the sun.
This laser is serious about safety… its got multiple locks that they call a user safety system to prevent the accidental firing of the beam. In the end cap is a key switch on/off that takes a round plastic key. Also on the end cap is a jack that accepts a dongle, which is an audio jack wired to complete the circuit. The key switch needs to be set to on and the dongle plugged in place for the laser to fire with activation via the silver momentary push button switch on the side of the laser. The finally safety is the shutter in the end piece that the beam emits from. A twist of the end piece opens and closes the shutter, of course you need to open the shutter to emit the beam. Also, on the laser is a eyelet to allow the attachment of a wrist strap, however one does not come with the laser. I supplied my own wrist strap and attached the plastic key to it so that I don’t lose it.
Another difference that sets this laser unit apart from the typical laser pointer is the power source, Which is two “AA” batteries instead of two “AAA”. There is also a red LED indicator that tells you the unit is on and a two second delay in firing the laser beam. The output of the laser is very bright, so bright that ThinkGeek says its “crazy bright” and that is the truth. The dot landing on objects is intense. The beam is bright enough to be seen in dark conditions. The beam can also be seen in the night sky. The first time I fired the beam straight up into the sky… I was in awe as I could see the beam go up and up and up into the sky. Very impressive indeed!
What is very cool about this laser is that it can do some of the cool things that a Wicked Laser can do for less. I was able to burn tiny holes in black trash bags which is amazing but grows old rather fast as the holes are pinhole sized. The super fun came when I finally got around to visiting my local party store to buy some dark color balloons, black and purple to be exact. The balloon popping is such an amazing thing to experience, right before the balloon pops, you can hear the material of the balloon stress and then pop. I have to admit, the first time popping balloons via laser made me laugh with glee and is lots of fun until the balloons run out.
I have to stress that the power output of this laser is very high and the beam very dangerous. Laser safety is very important when handling lasers of this nature. If anyone reading this review buys one of these lasers, please be responsible and use caution when handling it.
The High-Powered Green Laser -10mW is available directly from ThinkGeek.
What I Like: Low cost of the laser, safety mechanisms, can pop balloons
What Needs Improvement: They need to include a wrist strap